Monday, June 29, 2015

On Discovery...

So many adults rely only on what they learned in school. Diploma or degree in hand, we checked out. 
Done learning.
Learning something new? Nope.
Speaking a language that I don't already speak? Nope.
Have something fascinate me to my core? It's been awhile.
When did we become okay with that?

Now, those answers above are not mine. They are a "in general" response that I think most adults would give. Thankfully, not all. Not all of us are okay with existing in the only environment we've ever known. This is something that has changed in me from my five years of homeschooling my children. I get the opportunity to relearn everything. Question everything afresh. 

Last year, one of our subjects was French. I was excited to dust off my four years of high school French and teach them the correct pronunciation of crepe. Hearing most Americans order crepe at a restaurant, I cringe. This past week I spent my days bidding on textbooks for the upcoming year. This year I've decided we will do Latin. Now, mind you I have never taken a Latin class a day in my life. 

This is what excites me. 
The spark of interest.
Adding file folders of information to my brain. 
I'm not talking date memorization of historical facts, and the thought of impending algebra in the coming years makes me cringe.
I am talking about things that add culture, passion, happiness, talent, diversity, and understanding.

A great example is Operation Pollination. If you don't know what that is, it is the name we have affectionately given our bee hives. Last school year I added enrichment trips that I thought would be interesting and fun. We drove to LA and saw a special Van Gogh exhibit at LACMA after studying his work. 
We toured the La Brea Tar Pits, and walked through the neighboring park spotting new tar bubbles.
We toured local farms, and learned about biodiversity and organic growing methods.
Then we got a local organic beekeeper to give us a tour of his hives, and it all changed.

We were stung with fascination. 

Bees blew our minds. We found our jaws on the floor every few minutes when he would tell us another mind-blowing fact about bees. Believe me, they are fascinating. More than you can imagine. 
Now we find ourselves, as backyard beekeepers. Doing our little part for this tiny, wonderful pollinator.
Inspecting a frame from one of our hives.
Let's collectively agree to stop accepting only what you know thus far.
Say 'no' to being okay with just being a cab driver to your kids.
Sure, you have stuff to do.
Don't let that stuff be what feeds you.
You have so many more files to fill.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


I've been thinking a lot lately about my dreams. Surely we all have them. I don't know why I haven't made it happen yet. Mostly because it requires thousands of dollars and a ridiculously long ride in a heavy object that in my opinion doesn't logically belong in the sky. Then there's the looking out the window and seeing nothing but ocean part. Yeah, that. 

Regardless of all of these things, I should be there. I should have been there already. 

I want to wake up and walk to the corner and order the most flaky pain au chocolat ever. 
I want to sit by the Mediterranean with a cold, fruity drink in my hand.
I want to have a picnic on the grass in Paris.
I want to eat pizza in Italy.
I want to use my four years of French class, five if you include the year I spent teaching my kids.

It hasn't happened yet, but it will. I don't know when or how, but it will.

Until then, I'll keep doing what I can to bring these moments to life right where I am. 
I will savor flavors. 
Linger a little longer.
Notice beauty all around me. 
Create an atmosphere of relaxation in my home that can almost mimic the feeling of being on vacation.
A place where the world can't reach you.
Moments where the world only exists in that one bite.
From the Farmers' Market this morning. Worth being savored.
 On a side note, we added three chickens to our flock this week. They are Easter Eggers and will lay colored eggs. They haven't laid any for me yet, still getting accustomed to their surroundings. You know that saying, "A watched pot never boils"? Yeah, well a watched hen never lays apparently. Anxiously awaiting the day when I open the coop door and find colored eggs mixed with our brown and cream ones.
Welcome, Gladys, Dorothy, and Margaret.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Return to Writing

I'll be honest. I don't really know what my return to blogging looks like. I don't know who will read it. I don't know who will care. I'm going to treat it as a journal instead of a how-to. Let's be real, there are enough people writing how-to's. Nothing wrong with that. I love them and they keep us inspired. I've just felt a pull in my heart moving away from that for myself. That explains why my blog posts are few and far between.
Lately, for some reason, writing or blogging keeps coming up. Appearing and reappearing. The stringing together of words on a page is so appealing. For now, I'm going to dip my toes back in the water gently. Test the waters and find my stride.

Currently, we are on our summer break. I plan on starting school mid-July. When your husband has no days off in the summer because his business is air conditioning (on the sun...we live on the sun, we just call it central California), you may as well get a jump start on school. You're not going anywhere. 

The most exciting news of all is that after 15 years of living in California and my entire family living in Ohio, my mama is moving here in the end of July! Her house is in escrow! I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that I'll be able to call her and see her in the same day! 

Wanna come over? Yes. 
Meet for lunch? Yes.
Come for family dinner? Yes.
Birthday parties? Yes.
Come help in my garden? Yes.
Teach my kids how to sew? Yes.
Need help in your garden? Yes.
Family vacations? Yes.
Babysitter? Yes.
Weekend at grandma's? YES.

You get it. I'm excited! Here's what you need to know about the new house...
 A LARGE workshop that matches the house, and is (hello!!) turquoise! Yes, you don't have to wonder, I'm jealous.
It also already has a garden. You can't tell in this photo, but you walk through an adorable white arch and gate to get to the garden, and there is a fountain directly to the left of this picture (out of view).

Here she is fishing on Memorial Day. She was out here to buy her house. My dad has been gone four years. I'm looking forward to adding some richness to her day to day life. Also, on her last trip, she taught me the proper way to prune rose bushes, and now mine look AMAZING! So much new growth! See? You need your mama in the same town to teach you things!

Here's a quick run-down of what else has been keeping me busy lately. The garden is calling my name before it gets hot.
 We harvested our first ever frame of honey from our Operation Pollination hives.One hive in particular is THRIVING.
 Our very own allergy buster, from our very own pollen. Also, delicious!
 We check on the bees about once a month, sometimes more if we think we have an issue.
I've started a private Facebook group for giving away my extra organic eggs and garden surplus. When your little farm produces more than you can eat while it's still fresh, but not enough to sell, it just makes sense to hand it off to someone else. I have them save their cartons and return them (because, hello cute labels!) and then I refill them and hand them off again. Be a good neighbor when you can, the world will suck less.